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Incumbent Young beats two for Dem nomination in North Ward

Gertrude Young, the Democratic nominee in the North Ward alderman’s race, celebrates her victory Tuesday night.(The Vicksburg Post/MELANIE DUNCAN)

[05/02/01] With a margin of 18 votes, North Ward Alderman Gertrude Young escaped a run-off and won the Democratic nomination Tuesday en route to a third consecutive term.

“I want to give praise to the Lord first of all and thank all of my supporters,” an elated Young said at City Hall after her victory.

She will face independent Sylvester Walker in the general election June 5.

Unofficial returns show Young, 45, with 1,496 votes out of a total of 2,956 votes cast. Since challengers Rodney Dillamar, 41, polled 608 votes and Jo Pratt, 67, polled 852 votes, their combined total is 1,460.

Unless the 38 affidavit votes to be considered today almost all go to Young’s opponents, her victory will stand.

Pratt, co-owner of Belle of the Bends bed and breakfast and active in community work, was making her first bid for public office. She said she felt she did her best.

“Everybody fought a good fight and those that won, won,” Pratt said.

Dillamar, owner of the South Street Shoppette, was visibly upset and said he felt cheated after his loss. It was the second time he lost the Democratic primary to Young.

“The people yelled that they wanted a change and when the chance came they didn’t do it,” Dillamar said.

Both Dillamar and Pratt said they don’t intend to run for office again. “I just wanted to try and make a difference, but the people have made other choices,” Pratt said.

Four years ago, Young captured 2,821 votes to beat Dillamar, who had 479, in the primary. While her votes fell by nearly half Tuesday, there were still enough to provide a majority.

Young went on to her second term unopposed in the 1997 general election.

Young said she is going to focus on the June 5 election and go from there. “I just ask that the people come back out once again because it is an important race,” she said.

If Young defeats Walker she will be closing in on the tenure of Melvin Redmond, her predecessor, who was elected in 1976. Young became the first woman to win a seat in Vicksburg government when she won in 1993.

On Tuesday, Young’s biggest support came from the Kings precinct where she polled 67 percent of the vote, but in the largest city precinct, the American Legion Post, Young took 40 percent of the vote compared to 39 percent for Pratt and 20 percent for Dillamar.

Pratt took the most votes at the St. Aloysius precinct where she captured 42 percent of the vote compared with Young’s 40 percent. Dillamar’s strongest showing was at the City Auditorium where he captured 22 percent, but Young still took the majority of that precinct with 61 percent.